JUDEAN DATE PALM / by Caitlin Murray


During the excavation of Herod's palace at Masada between 1963 and 1965, a pottery jar was unearthed that contained a great many seeds of the Judean date palm, which had been extinct for some eight hundred years. The jar had been buried sometime between 155BC and 64AD. In 2005, after spending forty years in the archeological collections at Bar-Ilan University, three of the seeds were planted at Ketura in southern Israel. Eight weeks later, one sprouted, becoming the oldest seed to have germinated with human assistance and the only living example of this variety of palm. Methuselah, as it has been named, reached a height of nearly ten feet in 2015 and revealed that it was male when it started producing pollen. Similar seeds from other archeological sites around the Dead Sea have since been coaxed to sprout, but unless a female can be raised to produce flowers for Methuselah to pollinate, which would then make viable seeds, the Judean date palm's ressurection will have been sort-lived.

Carlos Magdalena's The Plant Messiah
"I believe that every species has a right to live without justifying its existence."